2020 40 Under 40: Ahmadreza Mahmoudzadeh, Ph.D. Candidate

Aug. 18, 2020
Ahmadreza Mahmoudzadeh, Ph.D. Candidate, Graduate Assistant Research, Texas A&M Transportation Institute and Ph.D. Candidate, Texas A&M University, Zachry Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Alma Mater: Texas A&M University
  • Favorite hobbies: Spending time with my family, cooking
  • Favorite route you have ever ridden or frequent: My favorite route is in my home country, which I took daily to go to school and return home. It was super crowded in the morning and very quiet at night. Seeing this difference and thinking ways to make the transit system more efficient at both times encouraged me to engage in public transit.

Ahmadreza Mahmoudzadeh is a Ph.D. candidate in Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University.

He began working as a graduate research assistant in the Transit Mobility Program at Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) in fall 2018, where he learned different modeling techniques, statistical and optimization methods, machine learning tools and programming languages to apply his knowledge in transportation-related problems.

In one of his recent projects, he developed a new methodology for assigning buses to the campus shuttle system. He evaluated the annual ridership data of the campus shuttle system in terms of service efficiency and then proposed a new scheduling system based on a clustering-based methodology. This methodology reflects the difference in behaviors of graduate and undergraduate students and considers rapid changes between peak and off-peak services. Implementing this methodology showed that the shuttle fleet could operate more efficiently during the time when class changes take place.

The main focus of his work with the Transit Mobility Program at TTI has been developing mathematical and statistical modeling to benefit public transit users and increase safety awareness. He also developed multiple automated toolboxes using Excel macro and other programming software from scratch for analysis of transit agency operational and financial data, which have been key for projects in transit budget allocation, trip sampling, route scheduling, service provision and data evaluation that his group conducts for sponsors. The projects have real-world applications and have been sponsored by the Texas Department of Transportation, Transit Cooperation Research Program and multiple public transit agencies. He currently contributes to technical assistance projects related to transit cost allocation and financial management. He supported the team for improvements to the Two-Variable Cost Allocation Calculator applications for National RTAP and oversaw the update of the soon-to-be-published National RTAP Fundamental Financial Management Manual.

In another one of his projects, he assisted the team in developing a methodology to help a transit agency prepare more succinct job descriptions for staff positions by looking at existing job posts. The goal was to establish a baseline for developing the job descriptions for each staff position. The implemented method identified major keywords and concepts within the job descriptions. He performed a causality analysis to determine the patterns between ranking within the organization and the corresponding keywords.

He also supported Texas Transit District Profiles and Performance Dashboard project to create a consistent set of profiles for each transit district and build a one-stop online information center for all state-funded transit districts in Texas. He contributed to spatial data management, survey design and macro programming. This project aims to provide a thorough understanding of the current status of Texas transit districts regarding governance; service area population and land area; transit service information by mode; fare structure and fare media by mode; operating days and hours by mode; financial status; performance statistics and planned projects in the coming years.

These projects have allowed him to develop as a researcher and he published the results of his research in peer-reviewed journals. He currently serves as the chair of technical activities for the Transportation Research Board Young Members Council of Public Transportation Subcommittee.

He has been recognized by APTA as an American Public Transit Foundation scholar and by Texas A&M University as the winner of several competitive fellowships, including the prestigious Academic Excellence Award.

“Listening well and trying to implement the lessons I have learned are the most powerful tools that put me in the right path to walk and make progress.”

“I most enjoy having the freedom to try out different ways of approaching a question. My group at TTI supports and encourages my independence and creativity.”